UK to set up visa centre in Punjab
BRITAIN has offered to open a visa centre in Punjab to facilitate peoples to immigrate to the UK legally. This would check the growing trend of illegal immigration to the UK, said the United Kingdom minister of state, home office, Liam Byrne while speaking at a luncheon meeting hosted by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal here on Tuesday. The meeting was held in honour of the visiting British delegation led by Mr Byrne. Mr Byrne said that his government would initially open a visa centre either at Chandigarh or Jalandhar and later it would be converted into a full-fledged consulate. He also evinced keen interest to extend cooperation to the Punjab government in upgrading technical skills and knowledge through experts and teachers exchange programmes in primary and secondary education with a special focus on the student exchange programme to acquaint the students of India and the UK with one another's cultural and social background. Appreciating the initiative of Mr Byrne for opening a visa centre in Punjab, Mr Badal said that it would prove to be a milestone in further improving the bilateral ties between the economies of the UK and India besides strengthening the bonding between the Punjabis here and their brethren settled in Britain. He said that Punjabis had a strong presence in the UK besides Canada, the USA and Italy and it was satisfying to observe that Punjabis had always contributed immensely towards the economic prosperity of the land of their adoption. Mr Byrne assured the chief minister that Britain was looking forward for collaborating with leading universities and educational institutions from Punjab with some of its reputed institutions in the UK. He also urged Mr Badal to send a delegation of educational experts and academicians to explore the ways and means in this regard. Taking part in the deliberations, Punjab chief secretary R I Singh asked Mr Byrne to facilitate the Punjabi youth to be suitably employed in the ventures of IT, industry and agro processing units in the UK.